NEL track state champs

Members of the Northeast Lauderdale boys track team include, kneeling, head coach Willie Bramlett; back row, DJ McCory, coach Josh Roberson, Tyler Anderson, Tyler Smith, Brandon Brown, Paden Moore, Jaheim Smith, Nick Coleman and Keron Robinson.

Northeast Lauderdale’s boys’ track team for the first time in school history claimed the MHSAA Class 4A championship Monday at Pearl High School.

Ten Trojans ran in the event, and the team earned three first-place finishes.

 LaSanto Rowe (49.96) was the top finisher in the boys’ 4x400-meter dash, and Northeast Lauderdale’s 4x200- (1:31.01) and 4x400-meter (3:28.34) relay teams earned gold medals. 

“It means a whole lot,” Northeast Lauderdale head coach Willie Bramlett said. “It gives the school a lot of recognition, and we’re glad to get there.”

Rowe’s first-place finish not only helped lead the Trojans to a championship, but it also gave him a year of bragging rights over teammate and friend, D.J. McCory. McCory claimed top honors in the event last year.

Bramlett touted Northeast Lauderdale’s relay teams as one its key strengths this year, and the squad added two more impeccable performances to their season’s resume.  

Keron Robinson, Nick Coleman, Maurice Sutherland and D.J. McCory were members of the Trojans’ 4x200 team, while Tyler Smith, Paden Moore, LaSanto Rowe and McCory ran as members of the 4x400 team. Northeast Lauderdale finished fifth in the 4x800-meter relay.

“Those two (teams) right there have been our strengths,” Bramlett said. “D.J. McCory and LaSanto Rowe, we can always count on them in the open 400.” 

McCory (51.03) also placed third in the 4x400-meter dash.

Sutherland excelled in both the long jump and the triple jump. His finish of 45-06.25 was good enough to earn him second place in the triple jump, and he claimed third place in the long jump with a 21-03.75.

“He won state last year in the triple jump,”  Bramlett said. “He came up a little short this year, but he still got second. He was looking forward to winning it.”

 Shaun Cosby (138-10.00) was the second-place finisher in the discus.

Bramlett began his Northeast Lauderdale coaching career as an assistant 18 years ago. While Monday marked the Trojans’ first-ever track state championship, Bramlett said the team returns a number of talented younger runners who should  again compete for a state title.

“This team right here, most of them really are 10th graders and 11th graders,” he said. “We only have two seniors. Those group of guys, I’ve had here since seventh grade. They’ve been with me for a minute.”

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